Dispatch 8: How to read


How to read

While these posts tend to include a lot of Youtube videos, it's important to consume broadly, and unfortunately that may mean having to read some books. Fortunately, one of my favorite channels, Philosophy Tube has a video on how to read difficult books.

One of his main points is to give yourself permission to take breaks and even re-read passages or chapters if you need to. Secondly, reading two different kinds of books can also be beneficial, as well as speeding up your completion rate.


I'd also like to add that while some books may take some time to "get going," we should all give ourselves permissions to stop reading a bad book if we really don't like it. This also goes for any other media. If you really don't like something and it's bringing you no joy or intellectual sustenance, turn it off. Even if everyone else loves it. Your time is worth more than that.


Patreon doesn't pay enough, (The Outline)


If you listen to enough podcasts, you'll probably hear a couple ads for Patreon. It's a "crowdfunding site" only instead of paying towards the completion of a specific goal, you directly support an ongoing creative endeavor.

For the ones at the top (for example Chapo Trap House pulls in over $80,000 a month), this has been a great way to monetize their work. But for the vast majority of patreon users, it hasn't allowed them to quit their day jobs. Brent Knepper at The Outline breaks down exactly why that is, and what Patreon doesn't do to help creators.

It is interesting to see how Patreon has been able to insert itself in the middle of all of these transactions, while apparently adding very little in the way of value, and a lot of extra work, to creators' plates.


Christmas time means Christmas movies


I haven't been able to get the movie One Magic Christmas out of my head ever since I saw it back in the early 90s on The Disney Channel. I don't know why exactly, it is, in many respects not all that memorable.


The thing that stands out most to me is that it was the first Christmas movie I saw where Santa Claus doesn't really play a big roll. Yes, he's a big feature of the children's Christmas experience but much of the magic in the film comes from plainclothes angel Gideon (played by Harry Dean Stanton.)


Why are computers beige?

Just a random video I stumbled upon. Pretty much all 1980s/90s computers were a rather terrible beige color. They may have a dark-gray accent color here or there, but overall the beige box was ubiquitous in offices of the time




As it turns out, the reason that beige was the rage had to do with a German workplace regulation from the 1970s. This standard was eventually adopted by other countries throughout Europe to the point where it made very little sense to make any other color options besides beige.


While Apple gets a lot of credit for shifting the aesthetic of home computers, the black IBM Thinkpad was a major force in changing office hardware.   

Tin foil square dance society

Finally, I'll close with a link to this amazing thread by @robynelyse on the secret cabal that has sought to make square dancing the national folk dance of the United States. I'm not kidding. It's weird.




Dispatch 7: Spooktacular

As Halloween approaches, I am possessed with a desire to find some good seasonal content. And of course, Halloween is weird in its own right so there are lots of great things to share. So open up that pillow case and receive this bounty.

Up first is none other than Vincent Price.

Though, perhaps you haven't heard him quite like this.

"Wine is Elegance" was a spoken word LP released in 1977. In his time, Price was an ambassador of California wines and clearly had a passion for fine dining. Maybe not the most spooktacular aspect of his career, but it's entertaining to hear Price talk up the virtue of wine and good company.

We'll turn it up just another notch with another illustrious voice.

Paul Frees was a renowned "golden throat" who voiced many commercials and cartoons. He was also the original voice of the "Ghost host" of the haunted mansion. Here is a raw recording of his introduction with some witty, if problematic, banter in the studio.

You must remember this takes on classic horror monsters

Karina Longworth's podcast about Hollywood history is often essential listening for classic movie buffs. This latest season (or cycle) profiles the careers of two of Hollywood's classic monster actors: Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. The first episode appeared recently, so you aren't too behind if you start listening now. And once this season has concluded, go back and listen to the riveting, epic season about the Manson family.

A Youtube Playlist for you

I happen to love the "PG" side of Halloween. I think it's just a big nostalgia trip for me to remember watching 'spooky' stuff like Disney's Halloween Treat in late October. So in that spirit I've put together a YouTube playlist of "VHS classics" there are Halloween specials and commercials from the 1980s and early 1990s.

Remember when the McNuggets were a Halloween staple?

That'll do it for this Dispatch. A veritable pillow case of tasty treats, in my opinion. Remember to brush your teeth.